The engine starts and idles quietly, and is very smooth at low revs, but it pulls robustly as soon as the driver engages the clutch from standstill – and it delivers very docile low-end performance. Thrust is strong in the 2000rpm to 3500rpm range, but it starts to tail off in the 4000s and by 4700rpm you’re better off changing up, much like a diesel.
The benefit is claimed combined fuel consumption of 55.4mpg, and official CO2 emissions of 119g/km, low enough to save an owner from having to shell out on road tax in the first year, and limiting it to £30 in the second.
In fact, this may well be the perfect engine choice for someone who likes diesel characteristics but doesn’t want a diesel car. Given the current future over diesel emissions, Vauxhall may well have identified a trend that will grow. But woe betide the driver, used to top-endy petrol engines, who expects strong upper-range passing performance: it’s not there.
Vauxhall prides itself on building cars for the way people really drive and this may well be the perfect example. Once you’ve realised the 1.4T is a petrol engine with diesel characteristics the Corsa is pleasant, long-legged and relaxed. The throttle response is fairly soft, but the whole unit works well with the Comfort chassis.
The new interior gives the whole car a lift, as do its surprising array of standard features like a heated front screen, tyre pressure monitoring and hill-start assist.
Drive a Comfort-equipped car hard and you’ll soon see a need for the Sport chassis that comes with Corsas on 17-inch wheels – it makes the steering feel much crisper and more responsive, and the ride tauter, though both are delivered at the cost of a little more noise and bump-thump.